Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Historic places of worship conference – November 12

The upkeep and care of historic churches and chapels for now and future generations will be the focus of a conference organised by the Church in Wales this week.

From archaeology and architecture to grants and fund-raising, the conference will explore a variety of issues relevant to historic places of worship. The first of its kind in Wales, it will bring together congregations, architects, government agencies, funding bodies as well as various religious denominations.

The speakers include Professor John Harvey of Aberystwyth University, who will look at the history of Welsh chapels, architectural historian Julian Orbach, who will talk about Victorian churches and Trefor Thorpe, chief architect with Cadw, who will address building maintenance.

The conference will be held on Thursday, November 12, at St Mary’s Priory Centre, Abergavenny. This ancient building is itself a Grade 1 Listed building and has a newly opened Tithe Barn restaurant and exhibition centre.

Alex Glanville, head of property services for the Church in Wales, hopes the conference will become an annual event to allow all those charged with caring for historic places of worship a chance to meet and share experience and information.

He said, “As well as being places of worship churches are vital heritage buildings, often hosting unique collections of art and local history. Two-thirds of those owned by the Church in Wales, for example, are listed buildings. They are managed by local volunteer members of the church congregation who are responsible for maintaining and repairing them. We are custodians of these buildings and need to protect them for future generations to enjoy.The cost, however, is huge and funding is a continual challenge. This conference aims to inspire and inform all those involved in their upkeep.”


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